EPISODE 130: St. Louis: The Original Soccer City USA – With Dave Lange

On August 20, 2019, the city of St. Louis, MO was officially awarded the 28th franchise in Major League Soccer, with an anticipated inaugural season beginning in 2022.  And while the club begins its efforts to get its team name, new downtown stadium and initial soccer operations in place, we take some time this week to reflect on the city’s deep and rich soccer history – perhaps unmatched by any locale in the United States.

Dave Lange (Soccer Made in St. Louis: A History of the Game in America’s First Soccer Capital) joins the ‘cast to trace the undeniably symbiotic relationship between the Gateway City and the Beautiful Game – as well as its impact on the development of the sport (especially professionally) across America.

As we root for the new St. Louis MLS team (our name suggestion: Gateway FC!) to meaningfully recognize and incorporate this important past, Lange helps tide us over in the interim as he discusses:

  • The St. Louis transplant who help launch both the USA’s first governing body for the sport, as well as its first professional league (the American Soccer League) during the Roaring Twenties;

  • The deep-rooted amateur, scholastic and collegiate landscape that kept the city at the center of the nation’s soccer development (including occasional US national team flashes of brilliance);

  • The seminal, but oft-forgotten St. Louis Stars of the 1967 NPSL and 1968-77 NASL;

  • How “soc-hoc” evolved into a professional indoor soccer explosion in the 1980s & 90s with St. Louis (Steamers, Storm, Ambush) as its epicenter; AND

  • The “invisible hand” of Anheuser Busch executive Denny Long.

PLUS:  There “Ain’t No Stoppin’” our tribute to the MISL’s iconic St. Louis Steamers!

Soccer Made in St. Louis: A History of the Game in America’s First Soccer Capital - buy here

EPISODE #02: Sports Executive Andy Crossley & the WPS Boston Breakers

Fellow defunct pro sports enthusiast (Fun While It Lasted, Minor League Paper) and former Boston Breakers General Manager Andy Crossley joins Tim Hanlon to discuss his rollicking ride on the Women’s Professional Soccer league roller coaster in the late 2000s, and why the second major attempt at professionalizing the womens game in the US fell apart after just three seasons.  Crossley recounts why Harvards archaic on-campus football stadium became the oddly natural choice for Breakers home games, the moment when he first recognized the WPS business model was doomed, how an Internet telephone entrepreneur’s obsession with the US Women’s National team hastened the league’s demise, and why he doesnt expect any Christmas cards from Hope Solo anytime soon.

Minor League Paper (eBay store) - browse and buy here